Why buy a body board?
If you spend time near or around the ocean, buying a body board is a fun, affordable way to make the most of your time at the beach. Also known unofficially as boogie boards, body boards are very similar to surfboards, but bodyboarding is much easier to learn than surfing. The whole family, young or old, can enjoy riding body boards together. Body boards allow you to ride much smaller waves closer to shore than surfboards but can still handle larger waves just fine; if anything, you’re less likely to wipe out on a body board. They’re less expensive, and since they’re made out of foam, they are lightweight and easy to carry.
What should you look for in a body board?
- Length: Body boards range from 33 to 46 inches (roughly 2.75 to 3.83 feet). There may be a few slightly shorter or taller models, but nothing too drastically different. It’s recommended you pick a board that comes up to your waist at full height, but it ultimately comes down to your personal preferences. Also, consider whether you’ll be catching shorter waves in the shallows or bigger ones a little further from shore. Shorter body boards are better for bigger waves since they’re more agile and easier to maneuver, while a bigger board will give you better buoyancy in shallower waters. A taller board is also a better choice if you ever want to try kneeling or standing on your body board.
- Core: When looking at body boards, you’ll likely see several different cores listed; while all body boards are made from foam, there is a slight variance between the internal foam types that make up the board. EPS (a type of extruded polyester), PE (polyethylene), and PP (polypropylene) cores are the most common. EPS cores are considered best for beginners as they’re strong, buoyant, offer cushioning for your belly and limbs, and are water-resistant. PE and PP cores, on the other hand, provide greater agility and maneuverability, so intermediate and advanced body boarders often prefer them. In particular, PE cores are flexible, are especially suited to cooler water, and handle larger waves very well. PP cores are preferred for experienced and pro body boarders due to their lightweight yet strong build. PP can handle even the biggest waves and is perfect for executing technical maneuvers and tricks.
- Tail Shape: The back end of body boards mostly come in two different shapes, a crescent tail and a bat tail. Crescent tails, which are more common, are exactly what they sound like, gently curving inward in a crescent moon or half-circle shape. This tail shape is better at catching waves and is thus preferred by experienced body boarders. Bat tails have more of a wavy shape. They’re a bit lighter and offer better floatation properties, so they’re the better choice for unpredictable conditions or shallower, smaller, and weaker waves.
Are there any other features to look for in body boards?
As with surfboards, you’ll want to invest in a body board with a leash, string, or coil you can attach to your wrist or bicep while riding the waves. This prevents you from losing your body board should you fall off and acts as a safety floatation device that may help prevent drowning. If you buy a body board that doesn’t already have a leash or coil attached, purchase one separately and secure it. It’s also worth keeping an eye out for a body board that comes with a carrying bag included. It will improve the board’s portability and help to protect your purchase from the sand and sun when not in use. Leaving it for too long in direct sunlight may cause surface damage or even warp the board slightly out of shape. A bag helps prevent this and may even provide extra storage/carrying space for other beach accessories, like sandals or flip-flops.
Bo-Toys Body Board with EPS Core
A premium, high-quality body board that's suitable for just about any grown adult, regardless of size or experience level.
Pros: If you’re looking for a high-end body board to ride the waves at the beach, you can’t go wrong with this model. Every section of this board, from the durable deck (top side) to the core offers great water resistance even if accidentally damaged, is made of the best materials to ensure a high-quality, longer-lasting body board. Due to its crescent tail and EPS core, this body board is also well-equipped to maneuver in large ocean waves, especially since it has dual channels (canals located on the tail of a body board’s skin) for an increased grip on the waves. This board is also available in a short and long size, so there’s an option suitable for most adults’ heights.
Cons: While body boards are usually fairly affordable investments, this product is an exception, as it is a bit pricier than most single boards. Also, note that its EPS core makes it a better choice for beginner body boarders, so if you’re a more experienced rider, you might prefer something stiffer.
Bottom Line: Here’s a top-of-the-line body board that’s great for beginner and casual body boarders alike. You won’t have to worry about this product being cheaply made or falling apart after several uses. Adults of all ages and sizes will enjoy riding the waves atop this premium-quality body board.
Goplus Boogie Boards for Beach
Bring some brightness to the beach or lake or pool with this vibrantly colored and patterned body board.
Pros: This lightweight body board stands out with its bright colors and prints. There are six possible color options, each with its own unique printed design to suit a broader range of tastes. Each design option is reversible, with more solid but still eye-catching colors on the opposite side. Not only does this give you a stylish, good-looking body board, but you’ll also appreciate the bright colors if you have young kids; they’re incredibly easy to spot and pick out in the water, making it easier to keep an eye on your children for safety purposes. A leash that you can attach to your wrist or ankle comes pre-attached for additional safety.
Cons: There are only two size options for this body board. Also, note that there is a chance that the print may rub off slightly on your bathing suit, especially if the board isn’t stored and cared for properly.
Bottom Line: Whether you prefer eye-catching, vibrant prints or you want a body board that’s bright enough to spot in the water easily, this is the body board for you. The EPS core ensures that it’s easy to use for all ages, young or old, and it works equally well in pools, lakes, or the ocean.
Wavestorm 40 Bodyboard 2-Pack
Whether you're buying for you and your significant other, your family, or just to have a spare on hand, get a better bang for your buck with this pair of body boards.
Pros: If you’re looking to purchase more than one body board at a time, you’ll get an excellent bang for your buck with this pair of boards; the two together cost less than buying two individual body boards. Not only will you save money by buying these boards as a set, but they come with many other useful features as well. Both come with wrist leashes for safety purposes, so you won’t have to spend extra money buying your own. The bottoms are also nice and slick, allowing the boards to glide over the waves and water smoothly.
Cons: Unfortunately, there aren’t any alternate sizes available for this board—the 40-inch length is your only option. Nor are there any other colors or designs from which to choose.
Bottom Line: Buying in bulk or sets is almost always the more cost-efficient option, and this pair of body boards is no exception. Whether you’ve got more than one child at home, are buying for yourself and a significant other, or want a spare body board just in case, you receive two quality boards for a reasonable price.
Morey Big Kahuna Bodyboard for Tall Riders
No matter what height you are, you won't have to miss out on the fun of body boards thanks to this model specifically made for taller people.
Pros: If you’ve had trouble finding a body board long and wide enough to fit your height and frame properly, your search is over—this model was designed for taller and larger people. At 44 inches, it’s on the longer side, suitable for riders 5’10” and taller, proportionally extra-wide, and able to hold people who weigh 185 pounds or more. As a bonus, this board is equally suitable for warm and cold water. It’ll function well in many different climates and environments, and it’s extra buoyant so as not to be weighed down by taller riders. It’s also available in several different colors, with the option to buy a set of two boards.
Cons: Since this board was meant for taller and overall bigger people, it’s only available in the specified size. Also bear in mind that the wider body of the board means it’s better suited for smaller waves too.
Bottom Line: If you’re much taller than the average person, it can be hard to find sporting gear and other products that fit your body properly without having to custom order them. Fortunately, this pair of body boards was specifically made to accommodate people who are both bigger and taller so they can enjoy body boarding alongside the rest of the family.
Back Bay Play Body Boards for Beach
If you're looking to buy your child their first body board, you can't go wrong with this beginner-friendly model made with kids in mind.
Pros: Whether you’ve got children who love to body board or you want to learn for yourself, this board is ideal for either (or both) scenarios. It was made specifically with new riders and small waves in mind, from the EPS core to the lightweight, waterproof body to the crescent-shaped tail. A good-quality safety leash comes built-in to help set your mind at ease. There are lots of great color and design options available (27 in total) as well as four sizes, so it’s suitable for smaller and taller kids alike.
Cons: Bubbles may formed on these body boards after using them a few times, and while they could be peeled off, it left the board looking less than perfect. There’s also a chance that these boards may crack over time, sometimes even after only a few uses.
Bottom Line: This board was made specifically with younger beginner body boarders in mind, so you won’t have to worry about it being too hard for your little one to control or maneuver.
Body boarding is one of the simplest to learn yet most fun activities you can take part in during a day at the beach. Investing in your own body board not only allows you to enjoy this activity whenever you wish but provides you with a fun sporting accessory for any body of water you might visit.